GOBankingRates

What You Can Rent on a Minimum-Wage Salary in Every State

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manonallard / Getty Images

In 1938, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act into law, which introduced the minimum wage at 25 cents per hour. It has increased some since then, but not much. While always controversial, the issue has become a political hot button in recent years, as sides argue about whether or not people truly can live on the minimum wage.

Read More: 30 Essential Money Habits
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To cut through all the noise, GOBankingRates conducted a study to analyze just how much money minimum-wage earners make on a state-by-state basis, and whether a person can afford to rent an apartment (even with roommates) while earning the minimum wage, using data from the U.S. Department of Labor and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Overall, the results of the study are eye-opening. Using 2020 data from RentData.org, which pulls from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, GOBankingRates found the average gross rent by state for single-person studios as well as one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments to see what would be affordable for people being paid the minimum wage. Alarmingly, there were no states where minimum-wage workers could afford to rent a studio or one-bedroom by themselves. When accounting for people sharing living spaces, there were only 15 states where two minimum-wage workers could afford to rent two-bedroom apartments and 23 states where three people could rent three-bedroom apartments.

See: How To Save Money on All Your Monthly Expenses and Bills

Translated to real-world experience, it is clear from the study that it’s a serious struggle to survive in the U.S. while only earning the minimum wage. Yet, plenty of Americans are forced to do just that, so it’s important to implement coping strategies in any way possible. Some of these options are discussed after the state-by-state breakdown of the study results, which could help those who earn minimum wage to find additional ways to save money on monthly expenses and bills.

Last updated: July 8, 2021

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Alabama

  • Minimum hourly wage: $7.25
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $15,080
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $325.34
  • Average studio rent: $534
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $576
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $701
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $924

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in Alabama. It would require three minimum-wage workers to rent a three-bedroom apartment together.

Related: How the US Minimum Wage Has Changed Since the Year You Were Born

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Alaska

  • Minimum hourly wage: $10.19
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $21,195.20
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $457.27
  • Average studio rent: $911
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $1,033
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $1,288
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $1,715

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in Alaska. Even sharing spaces, two or three minimum-wage earners cannot afford to rent a two- or three-bedroom apartment together.

Check Out: 35 Useless Expenses You Need To Slash From Your Budget

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Arizona

  • Minimum hourly wage: $12
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $24,960
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $538.50
  • Average studio rent: $656
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $727
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $917
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $1,276

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford to live alone in Arizona. Two or three minimum-wage workers can afford to rent a two- or three-bedroom apartment together.

Read: 50 Ways To Live the Big Life on a Small Budget

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Arkansas

  • Minimum hourly wage: $10
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $20,800
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $448.75
  • Average studio rent: $493
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $533
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $672
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $889

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in Arkansas. Two or three minimum-wage workers can afford to rent a two- or three-bedroom apartment together.

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California

  • Minimum hourly wage: $12
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $24,960
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $538.50
  • Average studio rent: $997
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $1,140
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $1,446
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $2,011

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in California. In fact, the cost of housing is so steep that even two or three minimum-wage workers will be unable to afford to rent a two- or three-bedroom apartment together.

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Colorado

  • Minimum hourly wage: $12
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $24,960
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $538.50
  • Average studio rent: $745
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $801
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $1,008
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $1,367

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in Colorado. Two or three minimum-wage workers can afford to rent a two- or three-bedroom apartment together.

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Connecticut

  • Minimum hourly wage: $12
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $24,960
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $538.50
  • Average studio rent: $870
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $1,033
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $1,294
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $1,644

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in Connecticut. Rents are prohibitively high for even two or three minimum-wage workers to afford to rent a two- or three-bedroom apartment together.

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Delaware

  • Minimum hourly wage: $9.25
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $19,240
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $415.09
  • Average studio rent: $794
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $879
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $1,073
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $1,463

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in Delaware. Two or three minimum-wage workers can afford to rent a two- or three-bedroom apartment together.

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Florida

  • Minimum hourly wage: $8.56
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $17,804.80
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $384.13
  • Average studio rent: $743
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $811
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $992
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $1,328

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in Florida. Rents are also too expensive even for two or three minimum-wage workers to rent a two- or three-bedroom apartment together.

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Georgia

  • Minimum hourly wage: $5.15
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $10,712
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $231.11
  • Average studio rent: $628
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $655
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $788
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $1,041

Minimum-wage workers in Georgia can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment. Even pooling resources, two and three minimum-wage workers are unable to afford to rent a two- or three-bedroom apartment together.

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Hawaii

  • Minimum hourly wage: $10.10
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $21,008
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $453.24
  • Average studio rent: $1,236
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $1,406
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $1,798
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $2,501

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in Hawaii. Even if they pool their income, two or three minimum-wage workers cannot afford to rent a two- or three-bedroom apartment together.

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Idaho

  • Minimum hourly wage: $7.25
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $15,080
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $325.34
  • Average studio rent: $564
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $617
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $793
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $1,096

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in Idaho. Two or three minimum-wage workers still fall short when it comes to renting a two- or three-bedroom apartment together.

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Illinois

  • Minimum hourly wage: $10
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $20,800
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $448.75
  • Average studio rent: $556
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $624
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $787
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $1,033

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in Illinois. Two or three minimum-wage workers can afford to rent a two- or three-bedroom apartment together, however.

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Indiana

  • Minimum hourly wage: $7.25
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $15,080
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $325.34
  • Average studio rent: $549
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $620
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $782
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $1,027

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in Indiana. Neither can two or three minimum-wage workers afford to rent a two- or three-bedroom apartment together.

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Iowa

  • Minimum hourly wage: $7.25
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $15,080
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $325.34
  • Average studio rent: $516
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $570
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $729
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $970

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in Iowa. Even two minimum wage workers will be unable to rent a two-bedroom apartment. However, three minimum-wage workers will have just barely enough cash to rent a three-bedroom apartment together.

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Kansas

  • Minimum hourly wage: $7.25
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $15,080
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $325.34
  • Average studio rent: $545
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $589
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $752
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $992

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in Kansas. Two or three minimum-wage workers do not fare any better, either, when it comes to renting a two- or three-bedroom apartment together.

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Kentucky

  • Minimum hourly wage: $7.25
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $15,080
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $325.34
  • Average studio rent: $498
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $556
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $699
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $929

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in Kentucky. Three minimum-wage workers could team for a three-bedroom apartment, but just two cannot afford a two-bedroom place together.

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Louisiana

  • Minimum hourly wage: $7.25
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $15,080
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $325.34
  • Average studio rent: $617
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $672
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $820
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $1,073

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in Louisiana. Two or three minimum-wage workers do not fare any better even when pooling resources; they are still unable to afford to rent a two- or three-bedroom apartment together.

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Maine

  • Minimum hourly wage: $12
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $24,960
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $538.50
  • Average studio rent: $640
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $685
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $849
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $1,108

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in Maine. However, two or three minimum-wage workers can afford to rent a two- or three-bedroom apartment together.

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Maryland

  • Minimum hourly wage: $11
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $22,880
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $493.62
  • Average studio rent: $909
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $1,023
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $1,243
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $1,637

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in Maryland. The best possibility would be for three minimum-wage workers to share a two-bedroom apartment and get creative about sleeping arrangements.

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Massachusetts

  • Minimum hourly wage: $12.75
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $26,520
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $572.15
  • Average studio rent: $1,149
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $1,273
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $1,588
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $1,995

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in Massachusetts. Two or three minimum-wage workers do not fare any better even when pooling resources; they are still unable to afford to rent a two- or three-bedroom apartment together in the pricey state.

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Michigan

  • Minimum hourly wage: $9.65
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $20,072
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $433.04
  • Average studio rent: $547
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $614
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $773
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $1,017

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in Michigan. However, two or three minimum-wage workers can afford to rent a two- or three-bedroom apartment together — and have enough money left for a streaming service or two.

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Minnesota

  • Minimum hourly wage: $10
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $20,800
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $448.75
  • Average studio rent: $562
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $646
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $823
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $1,121

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in Minnesota. However, two or three minimum-wage workers can afford to rent a two- or three-bedroom apartment together.

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Mississippi

  • Minimum hourly wage: $7.25
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $15,080
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $325.34
  • Average studio rent: $524
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $569
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $703
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $916

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in Mississippi. However, three minimum-wage workers can afford to rent a three-bedroom apartment together.

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Missouri

  • Minimum hourly wage: $9.45
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $19,656
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $424.07
  • Average studio rent: $484
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $547
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $700
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $933

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in Missouri. However, two or three minimum-wage workers comfortably can afford to rent a two- or three-bedroom apartment together.

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Montana

  • Minimum hourly wage: $8.65
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $17,992
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $388.17
  • Average studio rent: $561
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $636
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $809
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $1,081

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in Montana. Two minimum wage workers come up just short, but three minimum-wage workers can join to rent a three-bedroom apartment.

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Nebraska

  • Minimum hourly wage: $9
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $18,720
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $403.87
  • Average studio rent: $480
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $569
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $724
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $946

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in Nebraska. However, two or three minimum-wage workers can combine to rent a two- or three-bedroom apartment.

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Nevada

  • Minimum hourly wage: $9
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $18,720
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $403.87
  • Average studio rent: $610
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $710
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $905
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $1,263

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in Nevada. In fact, two or three minimum-wage workers will fall just short of renting a two- or three-bedroom apartment together.

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New Hampshire

  • Minimum hourly wage: $7.25
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $15,080
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $325.34
  • Average studio rent: $757
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $856
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $1,089
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $1,426

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in New Hampshire. In fact, two or three minimum-wage workers also will be unable to rent a two- or three-bedroom apartment together.

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New Jersey

  • Minimum hourly wage: $11
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $22,880
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $493.62
  • Average studio rent: $1,013
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $1,185
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $1,467
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $1,875

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in New Jersey. In fact, two or three minimum-wage workers also can’t merge their funds to afford a two- or three-bedroom apartment together.

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New Mexico

  • Minimum hourly wage: $9
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $18,720
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $403.87
  • Average studio rent: $604
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $650
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $802
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $1,093

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in New Mexico. But the good news is that two or three minimum-wage workers will be able to rent a two- or three-bedroom apartment together.

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New York

  • Minimum hourly wage: $11.80
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $24,544
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $529.52
  • Average studio rent: $806
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $886
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $1076
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $1,378

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in New York. Neither can two minimum-wage workers renting a two-bedroom apartment together. However, three minimum-wage workers will be able to rent a three-bedroom apartment together.

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North Carolina

  • Minimum hourly wage: $7.25
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $15,080
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $325.34
  • Average studio rent: $633
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $652
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $799
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $1,063

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in North Carolina, nor will two or three minimum-wage workers be able to rent a two- or three-bedroom apartment together.

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North Dakota

  • Minimum hourly wage: $7.25
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $15,080
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $325.34
  • Average studio rent: $596
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $614
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $766
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $1,053

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in North Dakota. Two or three minimum-wage workers also will fall short of being able to rent a two- or three-bedroom apartment together.

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Ohio

  • Minimum hourly wage: $8.70
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $18,096
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $390.41
  • Average studio rent: $540
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $604
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $761
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $992

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in Ohio. However, two or three minimum-wage workers will be able to rent a two- or three-bedroom apartment together.

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Oklahoma

  • Minimum hourly wage: $7.25
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $15,080
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $325.34
  • Average studio rent: $531
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $576
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $728
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $965

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in Oklahoma. Neither can two minimum-wage workers sharing a two-bedroom apartment. However, three minimum-wage workers will be able to rent a three-bedroom apartment together.

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Oregon

  • Minimum hourly wage: $12
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $24,960
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $538.50
  • Average studio rent: $719
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $820
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $1,022
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $1,451

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in Oregon. However, two or three minimum-wage workers can afford to rent a two- or three-bedroom apartment together.

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Pennsylvania

  • Minimum hourly wage: $7.25
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $15,080
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $325.34
  • Average studio rent: $616
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $684
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $850
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $1,099

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in Pennsylvania. Two or three minimum-wage workers can’t afford to rent a two- or three-bedroom apartment together, either.

Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Rhode Island

  • Minimum hourly wage: $10.50
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $21,840
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $471.19
  • Average studio rent: $812
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $911
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $1,108
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $1,415

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in Rhode Island. Neither can two or three minimum-wage workers sharing a two- or three-bedroom apartment in The Ocean State.

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South Carolina

  • Minimum hourly wage: $7.25
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $15,080
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $325.34
  • Average studio rent: $610
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $657
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $788
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $1,044

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in South Carolina. Neither can two or three minimum-wage workers sharing a two- or three-bedroom apartment.

Steve Cukrov / Shutterstock.com

South Dakota

  • Minimum hourly wage: $9.30
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $19,344
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $417.34
  • Average studio rent: $513
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $584
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $749
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $993

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in South Dakota. However, two or three minimum-wage workers can afford to share a two- or three-bedroom apartment.

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Tennessee

  • Minimum hourly wage: $7.25
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $15,080
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $325.34
  • Average studio rent: $565
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $611
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $757
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $1,002

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in Tennessee. Neither can two or three minimum-wage workers afford to rent a two- or three-bedroom apartment together.

DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Texas

  • Minimum hourly wage: $7.25
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $15,080
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $325.34
  • Average studio rent: $608
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $669
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $829
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $1,106

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in Texas. Roommates won’t help. Two or three minimum-wage workers can’t afford to rent a two- or three-bedroom apartment together, either.

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Utah

  • Minimum hourly wage: $7.25
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $15,080
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $325.34
  • Average studio rent: $592
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $684
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $850
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $1,164

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in Utah. Neither can two or three minimum-wage workers team to rent a two- or three-bedroom apartment.

SeanPavonePhoto / iStock.com

Vermont

  • Minimum hourly wage: $10.96
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $22,796.80
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $491.83
  • Average studio rent: $764
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $851
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $1,050
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $1,354

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in Vermont. Neither can two minimum-wage workers who pool their resources for a two-bedroom apartment. However, three minimum-wage workers can just afford to rent a three-bedroom apartment together.

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Virginia

  • Minimum hourly wage: $7.25
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $15,080
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $325.34
  • Average studio rent: $760
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $829
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $992
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $1,323

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in Virginia. Neither can two or three minimum-wage workers afford to rent a two- or three-bedroom apartment together.

John Callery / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Washington

  • Minimum hourly wage: $13.50
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $28,080
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $605.81
  • Average studio rent: $745
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $845
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $1,069
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $1,502

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in Washington. However, two or three minimum-wage workers can afford to rent a two- or three-bedroom apartment together, thanks to the highest state minimum wage on the list.

allaalexandra / Shutterstock.com

West Virginia

  • Minimum hourly wage: $8.75
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $18,200
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $392.65
  • Average studio rent: $560
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $597
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $726
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $959

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in West Virginia. However, two or three minimum-wage workers can afford to rent a two- or three-bedroom place together.

©Shutterstock.com

Wisconsin

  • Minimum hourly wage: $7.25
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $15,080
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $325.34
  • Average studio rent: $554
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $624
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $800
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $1,057

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in Wisconsin. Two or three minimum-wage workers can’t afford to rent a two- or three-bedroom apartment together, either.

Sandra Foyt / Shutterstock.com

Wyoming

  • Minimum hourly wage: $5.15
  • Annual income on the minimum wage: $10,712
  • Monthly rent one person can afford on minimum wage: $231.11
  • Average studio rent: $621
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $679
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $846
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $1,138

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment in Wyoming. Neither can two or three minimum-wage workers afford to go in together to rent a two- or three-bedroom apartment.

Linda Raymond / iStock.com

How To Survive on a Minimum Wage Salary

Here are some options that could help minimum wage earners get by:

  • Get more roommates. One of the easiest ways to share expenses is to find additional roommates. When you can divide rent, utilities and even transportation costs among more people, the per-person cost will drop. Sharing living quarters might not be ideal for everyone, but it will help to stretch your budget.
  • Take on an additional job. Minimum-wage jobs may not pay much, but they are often available. If you have the time and energy, taking on additional work can increase your net income and help to cover your living expenses. If that’s not an option, ask your manager if there are any career paths toward jobs with a bigger income, such as a management training program. You also can look outside of your current job and apply for higher-paying positions, which would allow you to earn more money while working the same number of hours.
  • Lower your expenses. If you manage to find better deals or cut certain non-necessities, you might be able to cover more of your overall costs. For example, utility costs include cable bills. If you can switch providers to secure a lower rate or drop cable altogether, your utility costs will drop. Similarly, switching to a lower-cost supermarket or substituting free community events for expensive nights out can help to trim your expenses.

There’s no easy answer to the struggle that comes from surviving on the minimum wage. However, you might be able to balance out the scales — and achieve a living wage — by finding some combination of increased income and reduced expenses.

More From GOBankingRates

    John Csiszar contributed to the reporting for this article.

    To find out what you can rent on a minimum wage salary in every state, GOBankingRates first looked at each state’s (1) minimum wage as sourced from the United States Department of Labor, which was then multiplied out by 2,080 (40 hours a week for 52 weeks) to give the (2) annual income for a worker earning minimum wage in each state. GOBankingRates then found the percentage of annual income the average American spends on “Gross Rent” (shelter plus utilities) for a single person, based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2019 Consumer Expenditure Survey, which then was adjusted to each state’s annual income earning minimum wage to give (3) annual/monthly rent you can afford on minimum wage as well as living with one or two roommates who also make minimum wage. GOBankingRates then found the (4) average gross rent by state for a studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom apartment from 2020 data from RentData.org, which pulls data directly from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. With these averages sourced, GOBankingRates then cross-referenced factors (3) and (4) to see which apartment was affordable living on minimum wage. Note: We made the assumption that a studio and one-bedroom apartment would have only one occupant, a two-bedroom would have two occupants, and a three-bedroom would have three occupants. If more people were assumed to be sharing the smaller two apartment sizes, they night appear more affordable. All data was collected on and up to date as of Oct. 2, 2020.

    Photos are for illustrative purposes only. As a result, the images may not reflect living spaces with the number of bedrooms listed in this article.